General Studies

A foundation for success

At FIDM, General Studies is more than just a list of classes you're required to take before you get to your "real" classes–it's an integral part of the degree path.

What Our Students Learn

In our program students learn the skills to:

  • Communicate effectively and present ideas verbally and in writing.
  • Think critically, research, and analyze information to complete projects and solve problems.
  • Apply a global and historical perspective and understand its relevance.
  • Make impartial and ethical decisions.
  • Utilize industry-specific scientific inquiry and quantitative analysis.


Each and every General Studies course takes students one step closer to accomplishing their goals. Here's how:

Courses are set up to feed directly into the majors.

FIDM's challenging and thorough courses include subjects in the traditional liberal arts - but with an important difference. Students learn how the coursework applies to their FIDM major and the careers in which they will be working, whether it's Product Development or Fashion Design.

Each student takes the General Studies courses required for his or her major and is exposed to a variety of political, social, ethical, and artistic issues that broaden the student's scope and knowledge base. This means students are both challenged by and enthusiastic about their co-curricular studies - and it's key to why our graduates say that General Studies courses were an essential part of their FIDM education.

Standards are rigorous.

FIDM certifies that all courses numbered 1000 and higher are collegiate level and recommends acceptance for transfer to the California State Universities and other universities and colleges. Students learn intellectual, practical, and creative skills such as oral presentation, applied mathematics, research, and textile science that support the mission of each department in the college.

Students learn practical, professional skills
with a creative spin.

From art and costume history, to how to conduct research and prepare a portfolio, instructors bring their professional and creative experience into the classroom. These courses prepare students to be professional, articulate, and analytical. Students have access to an impressive array of guest lectures and an incomparable "study collection" encompassing over 2,000 garments and historical materials for hands-on education, research and inspiration. These skills apply directly to the information students need as they embark on a professional career in the creative industries.

Some examples of favorite General Studies courses include:

Seminar in the Arts (GNST 2750)

A survey of the arts from a variety of origins, both classical and contemporary, with a particular emphasis on a diversity of fine, performing and applied art forms. Students attend events that explore at least three of the following: images, sculpture, music, theater, cinema, dance, landscape, architecture and literature. Students gain an understanding of the different roles associated with these various art forms and critique these art forms through discussion, oral presentations and essays, integrating their perceptions into their final projects.

Professional Practices (GNST 2980)

To become more self-reliant and resourceful in the job search, students investigate career opportunities and the career path, personal traits, job responsibilities, and qualifications necessary to be competitive and sought after in the industry. Students research career opportunities, develop a plan of action, conduct informational interviews, practice interviewing skills, and produce a professional resume and cover letter for immediate submission to prospective employers.

Critical Thinking (GNST 1650)

Designed to foster independent thinking, this course strengthens students' capacity to reason clearly, critically, and creatively, including the ability (1) to analyze the arguments of others, (2) to synthesize effective arguments of their own, and (3) to solve problems skillfully. Students also gain experience in reading closely and conducting purposeful, imaginative research—skills essential to the examination of demanding social, moral, political, and personal issues. Prerequisite: GNST 1040